4 Things Every Twenty-Something Needs To Keep In Mind

1. It’s okay if you haven’t figured your passion out yet.

This is the number one concern that I hear. Apparently there a subtle message that is communicated from age 21 that by the time you are 25, you should have figured out the details of a very serious career path but its 2016 people. Nowadays, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a lawyer/musician/app designer/business entrepreneur. Due to social media, the power of selfies and the fact that Kim Kardashian made it allows me to believe that we can also multitask. So if you haven’t figured out your passion yet, what does this mean for you? Here is my suggestion:

Follow your curiosity until it develops into a passion.

This means: The very thing that precedes passion is curiosity. I first came across this concept from the beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert. She confidently says that exploring all of your curiosities will without a doubt, lead you directly to your passion. How does she know? Because it’s a natural approach to exploring your talents and it takes the pressure off. Passion is a heavy word. Think about the most passionate love relationship you’ve ever had. After it was over, it literally wiped everything out of you, leaving you distraught for weeks. While it is an integral part of pursuing your dreams, passion also has the ability to kill your dreams because it is such an all or nothing emotion. However, if passion is exerted in the right direction it is a force to be reckoned with. For example, my best friend Annalise loves to bake. One day she decided to explore that curiosity. She didn’t quit her job, refinance her house or sell her car to get started. She did it in her spare time little by little. She took baking and icing classes after work and started baking whenever could. Now she’s a passionate baker with a reputable clientele. Start from where you are and figure out what that means for you. Write down a list of talents that you have. Think about what comes naturally or peaks your interest. If you follow that curiosity and it doesn’t work out or you become disinterested, that’s OK because you didn’t burn any bridges and you can move on to your next curiosity. If you follow that curiosity and you love it so much so that it doesn’t feel like work, then you’re welcome.

2. When people show you who they are, believe them.

I’ll say it again. When people show you who they are, believe them darling and just move on. If you meet a thief while he is robbing a bank, would you want to be best friends with him in that moment? Probably not. So why is it that when you meet an awesome person and they display dishonest behavior initially, you still want to be best friends with them and yet expect them to be honest to you? This happens all the time. So many people in the workforce, relationships, friendships and family situations do this. Think about it in your own life. You know a family member exhibiting a certain type of behavior, you feel sorry for them in your head and you tell yourself that they will change. It’s the boyfriend that you know has tons of red flags but you date him anyway or the friend who is selfish but you are still friends with them anyway. Some people are so far deep into the same cycle that they are unsure of how to get out of it. Why is this such an important subject? Because it drains your energy.

Every human being is subjected to the process of Osmosis. The scientific definition of Osmosis is a subtle or gradual absorption by association. Remember when your parents told you to hang out with the good kids in school? It doesn’t change in adulthood. What does change is that you meet seemingly cool people with bad habits but think we are immune to their habits. That’s the thing about rebels — we are attracted to their bold behavior but you need to be in tune with yourself and see it for what it is. Every time I meet a new person, I ask myself: “What do you think about that person and how do you feel being around them?” It forces me to recap the important facts. After that, I decide if it is someone I want to continue being around or not and I have made fewer mistakes down the road because of it. What is the solution?

3. Create healthy boundaries.

This means: Don’t shut people out of your life but know who you give your time to and who you don’t. Most importantly, don’t apologize for it. As human beings we are wired to feel validated by the need to feel seen, heard and understood. If you understand this then you will also understand that you can show validation to another person without investing yourself. With that said, do you need to hang out with your negative cousin who depresses you? Nope. Do you need to go out for drinks with your co-worker who has an agenda and you intuitively know it? Nope. This is adulthood, all the balls are in your court and you call the shots. You are the CEO of your life and you get to decide who sits in the boardroom table. Just because you are bonded to someone by blood or friendship doesn’t mean you have to voluntarily spend 10 hours a week with them. So create healthy boundaries for yourself and make a mental list of who you give your time to. You know yourself best and what you can handle.

4. Pay attention to how you bounce back from a bad experience.

What’s an easy way to drown? To foresee yourself drowning in the midst of drowning. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details. How and what do you tell yourself during and after an experience? Going through a bad experience flat out sucks. Experiencing a break-up, losing a job and ending a friendship are all traumatizing things and we’ve all been there. However, it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. Mark Nepo, a bestselling author, and cancer survivor, said it best. To be broken doesn’t mean you see all things broken. So what’s my suggestion?

What opens you is never as important as what it opens.

This means: The perfect bounce back technique is not to ignore the experience or drown it out with alcohol. Figure out what you’ve learned through it. Here’s the real catch: too many people get caught up with what the other person said or did because of the hurt or pain they feel from that experience. Don’t get caught up with the situation that happened or who caused it — that’s not your job here. What you should be focusing on is why did their act bring about a feeling of sadness, pain and hurt within you. Why did it open you up in this way?

Sometimes we get emotionally caught up because you know, we’re human. Eventually, we see things clearly. A good detective gets to the source of the problem. Once you figure out the source, you can easily navigate your way out of it. What did this open inside of you? You can even seek an honest friend to help you out. Funny enough, my outcome was pretty positive. I learned that for me, this represented what I want in a relationship and a lifelong partner. I figured out what attracted me but my response to that was wrong. Even though he showed up in my life wrapped in gift paper and a shiny bow, there were many underlying issues I chose to ignore and many red flags all along the way. Yet, I completely absorbed myself in him without knowing it. I want to point out that this can happen with any type of relationship —new friendships, family relationships and intimate relationships.

Now switching gears, this same lesson applies to being diagnosed with an illness. I bring this up because the hurt and pain that you feel isn’t caused by an external person. What do you do in that situation? The same rule applies. We shouldn’t be focused on the disease or illness that caused the hurt. Trust me — I know that this is one of the hardest things to go through. Mark Nepo, the cancer survivor that I referred to earlier, said that once the sadness subsides and you find a support system, the road to positive thinking and seeing the beauty in life in spite of the pain will be your greatest lesson. It is a choice. Figure out why this has happened and keep making the next right choice to get through it. Don’t overwhelm yourself. The way you climb up a hill is by choosing to take one step after another and before you know it my dear, you will be at the top. TC mark

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